Department of the Environment

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Publications archive - Annual reports


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Environment Australia Annual Report 2001-02

Environment Australia, 2002
ISSN 1441-9335

Reports - Operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (continued)
3. Monitoring and Compliance

During the Act’s second year of operation, Environment Australia refined its compliance awareness activities to target groups and individuals with common environmental proposals or issues. This included consultation with a variety of business sectors including industry, infrastructure, mining, agriculture/primary production, urban development and tourism. Much of this work involved clarifying the concept of ‘significant impacts to matters of national environmental significance’ and further explanation of the Act’s referral process. Improved working relationships were also established with state natural resource managers and conservation agencies.

Environment Australia responded to over 120 reported incidents concerning potential impacts to matters of national environmental significance and Commonwealth land. The majority were reported by individuals, community interest groups and conservation societies concerned about impacts to listed threatened species. Incidents were primarily reported as occurring along the north-east and southern coastlines of Queensland, the central coastal areas of New South Wales and areas near Melbourne, Victoria. A lesser number of reports were in relation to other matters of national environmental significance and Commonwealth land or Commonwealth marine areas (see Figure 5).

A variety of development proposals were monitored and assessed for their potential to impact on matters of national environmental significance. For proposals that were of concern, Environment Australia consulted with proponents during the planning phase of state or territory assessments. Approximately 5 per cent of development proposals submitted to Environment Australia as a referral under the Act were submitted following compliance effort. This may include sending a letter and information pack, advice on the referral process or additional information on the Act. A small proportion of reported incidents were identified as high risk cases requiring detailed investigation and further enforcement action.


Compliance Incidents for Each Jurisdiction Regarding Impacts on Matters of National Environmental Significance

Figure 5. Compliance Incidents for Each Jurisdiction Regarding Impacts on Matters of National Environmental Significance

A decision by the Federal Court of Australia on an application for an injunction under the Act to prevent the electrocution of spectacled flying foxes in Queensland was handed down on the 17 October 2001 (Booth v Bosworth & Bosworth [2001] FCA 1453). An injunction was granted and the action has since been referred to Environment Australia and is undergoing assessment under the Act.

Environment Australia enhanced its compliance resource capacity during 2001-02. Work was directed towards strategic planning involving identifying and implementing compliance priorities, and risk analysis. Mapping and geographic information system technology have assisted with this task. Environment Australia will advance this work in the coming year.

The wildlife trade amendments to the Act included some changes to reduce the frequency of unnecessary seizures. In particular, the importation of American ginseng as personal accompanied baggage no longer requires a permit. However, the level of enforcement action has not diminished, as the procedure of examining all international mail, adopted by quarantine authorities as a biosecurity measure, has resulted in the discovery of numerous products derived from CITES-listed species.

During 2001-02, Parks Australia prepared a detailed Compliance and Enforcement Plan and appointed 20 wardens and 20 rangers under section 392 of the Act. Additional wardens and rangers were appointed under section 393. Environment Australia is currently providing accredited training to about 20 Northern Territory police with a view to their appointment under section 393(2). Further information on implementation of the Act by Parks Australia is in the annual report of the Director of National Parks.